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Their or They're / Your or You're | Fun Grammar Tips

Updated on May 31, 2009

Do you have trouble with grammar, specifically whether to use 'their' or 'they're', 'your' or 'you're'? English grammar is notoriously problematic for speakers of foreign languages to pick up because of its capricious and arbitrary nature. Native English speakers are not immune to its problems either, especially in the instances mentioned in the title of this piece.

Why bother figuring it out at all? Well, it's nice to learn how to use proper grammar because it makes one appear educated, and it also saves other people from grinding their teeth in frustration when they read what you have written. It may also possibly save you virtual beatings from objectionable grammar Nazis.

Your vs You're

Your = Possessive, also known by some people with fancy hats as the genitive case. Using the word 'your' in a sentence means that something belongs to someone.

Example: 'Your hat'. 'Your car' 'Your fancy gold bling chains.'

You're = Contraction. You're is simply the shortened version of 'you are'.

Example: 'You are awesome.' 'You are annoyingly pedantic.'

These two words cannot be used interchangeably, though spending more than five minutes on the Internet might make you think so.

Their vs They're

Once again, two words which often cause problems. The correct usage is as in the above example.

Their = Possessive, genitive.

Example: 'Their cat was actually a dog.' 'Their party was fun.'

They're = Contraction short for 'they are. '

Example: 'They are so super.' 'They are the best kind of cheese balls.'

Why is this such a troublesome grammar point?

These two cases are perhaps the most problematic grammar points for native speakers of the English language. Because they sound the same to the ear, people sometimes think that they are the same thing, or can be used interchangeably. We don't get this problem with we're, because in English, the possessive, or genitive case for the 'we' form is 'our'. In this case, the difference is clear to the ear, so people do not have the same sort of problems, and you very rarely see a sentence typed 'We're party was fun.'

I hope you've enjoyed this little foray into correct conjugation. Why not also enjoy this little video parody produced by a very talented individual who would love for you to subscribe to his you tube channel.


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    • Gr8legs profile image

      Gr8legs 7 years ago

      Good tip, Hope. I always find it amusing that my students will happily txt "Ur gr8", but when asked to write/type it longhand will write "your great".

      I know this is more spe;;ing than grammar, but one tip I was taught years ago to differentiate between Stationary & Stationery was:

      papER is stationERy

      when you stAnd you are stationAry.

      Great hub, keep up the good work :

    • profile image

      kimberjim 8 years ago

      Cute vid,couldnt halp tapin ma tows to id.

    • Watch Tower profile image

      Watch Tower 8 years ago from New Zealand

      I am dyslexic so I have trouble with spelling, grammar and comprehension.

      though I do my best, it gets very frustrating knowing a word yet being unable to write it. So posts like this do help in my written compression and grammar .

      thanks to a nifty tool called ispell I am able to correct a lot of mistakes before I post. however it doesn't always catch every thing I do wrong So any more tips on grammer etc I will read if you post